Monday, December 05, 2005

More on the Wikipedia debate

This is getting interesting. In response to all the Wikipedia themed stuff on NewsLib, co-founder, Jimmy Wales, has replied to Newslib.
Not really surprising when confronted with this sort of comment:

> I think if you held a gun to Jimmy Wales and demanded that he choose
> either community or accuracy, he'd opt for the former, not the latter.
> And therein lies the issue.

Jimmy replied

Absolutely not. I'll choose accuracy every single time. Period.
Although, I don't really relish the thought of being held at gunpoint by
anyone, thanks. :-)

The mission I have set for myself in life is to give a freely licensed
high quality encyclopedia to every single person on the planet in their
own language. The core community shares with me this value, and indeed
this is ultimately the definition of what it means to be a part of the
core community. Therefore in a very real sense the supposed choice between "community"
and "accuracy" is a bit premature: since the community is incredibly
passionate about accuracy, getting rid of them isn't going to help at all.

It was this figure though that really caught my eye:

"I have reason to think that our error rate as
judged by experts is in some domains now only about 30% worse than
Britannica's. With the forthcoming review process and the ongoing
improvements in quality that we're seeing across the board, I think in a
year or two we'll be able to come "out of alpha" into "beta" stage at a
level where our quality essentially matches them (but unevenly, i.e.
we'll be better than them in some clearly definable areas and worse than
them in other clearly definable areas)."

But will the "beta" stage be achieved with the help of librarians? Had to chuckle at Jimmy's reply

"I would encourage library administrators to view occassional staff time
spent working on Wikipedia as being a part of the general culture of
public service that libraries embody."

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